South African students in poo protest against institutional racism

Photo: Rhodes Must Fall campaign

Protests at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are set to continue this week after university management failed to meet demands outlined by student representatives campaigning for the removal of a campus statue of British mining magnate Cecil Rhodes.

Student Chumani Maxwele, who dumped excrement on the statue on March 9th, told South African media outlet Independent Online that the act was part of a campaign to rename campus roads and buildings commemorating white oppression.

“As black students we are disgusted by the fact that this statue still stands here today as it is a symbol of white supremacy,” he said. “How we can be living in a time of transformation when this statue still stands and our hall is named after (Leander Starr) Jameson, who was a brutal lieutenant under Rhodes?”

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Over a thousand students gathered at the university’s Jammie Square on March 11th to discuss the statue being removed from campus grounds, according to Eyewitness News. A third demonstration on Sunday saw students cover the monument with black bags and write their slogan “Rhodes must fall” in chalk on steps in front of the statue.

The Rhodes Must Fall campaign has also criticised the university curriculum’s poor representation of black people.

The UCT Student Representative Council (SRC), which has played a key role in protests over the last week, yesterday walked out of a management-organised discussion on heritage after saying the university had not taken their demands seriously.

“We can no longer breathe,” SRC president Ramabina Mahapa said before walking out of the seminar. “The winds of change are blowing through UCT.”

Mahapa addresses staff and students at yesterday’s management-organised seminar. Source: University of Cape Town / YouTube

Catherine Healy

Editor of Trinity News. Interested in politics, history and all forms of media.